The Mixed Reactions to Taylor Swift’s Newest Single
Pop singer Taylor Swift recently generated a lot of buzz with her new single, “You Need to Calm Down.” Many people have had mixed reactions to the song.
A few people are saying that it’s a power anthem, allowing the LGBT+ community to take back power. In the song, Swift mentions GLAAD, an organization to help members of the LGBT+ community. She is also making donations to GLAAD and voicing her support for this community.
Others are not as happy. Swift deliberately released this song during the month of Pride. Pride is a month where the LGBT+ community comes together to celebrate and share their history. Recently, many companies are hopping on the bandwagon to adorn their businesses with rainbows to celebrate with the community.
Critics of these companies question how they are actually helping to support the LGBT community. Some companies are even being called out over having certain homophobic and transphobic remarks while also flying the rainbow flag. Taylor Swift is no exception.
People have been accusing her of queerbaiting, the act of pandering to the LGBT+ community for sales while not providing any real support to the community. Others aren’t as surprised, saying that Swift has a long history of appropriating other cultures and communities for her own gain.
Many refer to Swift as being a “white feminist,” that is to say that her actions as a feminist are largely not intersectional and are mainly used to keep straight white women in power. And although Swift is donating some of the proceeds to GLAAD, it begs the question: why now? Certain groups believe that she is using Pride as a means of capitalizing on the LGBT+ community under the guise of supporting them.
Additionally, she takes the video and makes it all about herself. Her and longtime frenemy Katy Perry share an embrace at the end, suggesting their reconciliation. While it’s wonderful that they are making up, fans have noticed that this does not fit the overall message of the video. Two straight women hugging detracts from the message that transphobia and homophobia need to be dismantled.
Another issue lies with her music video and its depiction of homophobes. In the video, homophobes are portrayed as poorly-educated hillbillies in overalls using Biblical verses to justify their actions. While religion is a major factor in many people’s beliefs, it’s by far not the only one. If this video was truly about calling out homophobes, critics feel that it should portray all types of them.
Homophobia is not the result of poor education, and this stereotype makes it easy to forget the upper-class lawmakers that make it so that the trans community has less access to healthcare and other resources. On top of this, no one likes to be stereotyped, so this portrayal is unlikely to change anyone’s mind on the subject of homosexuality. In fact, it runs the risk of those people doubling down on their beliefs.